For The Work's Sake

by Eric Dion December. 22, 2016 1285 views

Once upon a time......... Actually, this isn't that kind of story. This is a story about how I have an extremely hard time taking photographs of people. By people, I mean human beings naturally without staging a scene. In my eyes photographing people is a very personal experience. If you look at the work of Rodney Smith, Milton Greene, and Vivian Maier, it reflects exactly what I associate with the word portraiture. Photography as a whole is an almost magical art form. From images of beautiful landscapes, colorful inanimate objects, to wildlife. People though, to me, are a bit more complex.

To me, taking a portrait of an individual is a very frightful task. In my eyes, its my responsibility to do the subject justice through my work. The decisions with lighting, placement, and composition play hand in hand with bringing the attention and focus on that subject. At that point, its up to them to show me who they are and how they want to be seen in front of my lens. I can only hope to give them the emotion, dignity, and strength that I saw within in them at that moment, back through my work. 

I can honestly say that I have a lot to learn. The work below was by far the most fun I have ever had with a subject. I tend to want to shoot a subject as naturally as I can without anything being forced. I am drawn to street photography for that reason. The largest hurdle I need to overcome, is learning to slow down. I tend to rush and push myself to set my aperture, iso, and shutter speed as quickly as I can, only to then fail at thinking outside the box. I catch myself mid session and think about my point of view. Why didn't I shoot lower or higher? Why didn't I use a longer exposure? What was the point behind me using that aperture? Why didn't I compose a certain way? Did I use the sun the way I wanted?

Overly calculating in my head, I tend to miss the moments. Being in the moment and producing quality work is my goal moving forward. 

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Ram Ya 3 years, 2 months ago

I think constantly questioning and re-evaluating your work is a good sign. After seeing your photos, I can see how it has helped you produce such quality shots. I also get overwhelmed by scenes (mostly landscapes, so I can imagine what it's like in street situations!) but I think with experience you calm down a lot. Part of that is because your camera functions and technical assessments become second nature to you with practice. This allows you to focus more on artistic side of things such as composition, storytelling...etc

Helen hooker from PhotoBlog has been taking a 365 photo project for 8 years now! She talked about how this practice has improved both her technical skills as well as artistic skills. I hope you find this a good read She is a good photographer to follow too :)

About the photos in this series: #4 is amazing for use of natural light, framing, shadows.
#1 Has some mystery to it because of the blurred focus, and I like the natural sun rays

Finally, would love to see some of your street photography on our forum thread

3 years, 2 months ago Edited
Eric Dion Replied to Ram Ya 3 years, 2 months ago

I appreciate the feedback. Thanks for the kind words.

3 years, 2 months ago Edited